508-358-7959 info@waylandmuseum.org


Thursday, September 14 ~ 7:00 PM
Grout Heard House Museum
University of Connecticut Professor Robert Thorson details a fascinating chapter in Wayland history – the “flowage controversy“ in The Boatman, an account of Thoreau’s life on the Sudbury, Concord, and Assabet Rivers. Some of Wayland’s most prominent citizens, whose farms relied on haymaking made possible by the “natural” ebb and flow of floods, sued the owners of a dam downstream in Billerica to have it removed. These “Wayland farmers” hired Henry David Thoreau—not the dreamy pacifist of Walden Pond but the accomplished surveyor and river scientist to gather information that would prove their case. Thoreau finds that it wasn’t just the downstream dams that caused problems for the Wayland farmers but a number of other and earlier human-made “improvements” like the one-arch bridge over the Assabet. Thoreau and farmers likely avoided this ambiguity by not including his research in their suit. Thorson’s tale of over 150 years ago, is about how humans need “to recognize and accommodate, how to live with and through, change.” (Wall Street Journal) Signed copies of his book will be available to buy.

Refreshments: Linda Hamilton and Lois Toombs

Links more information
National Public Radio – Talk given by Professor Robert Thorson on his book
For a biographical sketch of Professor Robert Thorson
University of Connecticut
Buy The Boatman here

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